The mission of The WorkPlace is to develop a well-educated, well-trained and self-sufficient workforce that can compete in the changing global marketplace.
The WorkPlace was originally incorporated as the Private Industry Council of Southern Connecticut on August 11, 1983. Today, The WorkPlace is one of five Workforce Investment Boards in the state established by the Connecticut General Assembly to provide regional workforce training and education for low to moderate-income job seekers in southwestern Connecticut.
Recent highlights from The WorkPlace’s history include:
· In 2008, The WorkPlace started the Mortgage Crisis Job Training Program, a statewide effort, serving at risk borrows and addressing foreclosure by focusing on the financial stability of borrowers.
· In 2012, 60 Minutes aired “Trapped in Unemployment” by Scott Pelley, which documented a new initiative by The WorkPlace called Platform to Employment (P2E), a ground-breaking program geared towards putting the long-term unemployed back to work.
· Also in 2012 and 2013, The WorkPlace was awarded the “Connecticut Quality Improvement Innovation Award. GOLD level” for P2E and the Health Career Academy respectively.
· In 2014 the Platform to Employment program (P2E), was cited by President Obama for its achievements helping the long-term unemployed. P2E is currently being replicated in 22 cities across the nation.
As a national leader in the field of workforce development, we regularly share ideas, best practices and lessons learned with lawmakers, foundations, think tanks and other workforce development organizations around the country. The factors that have contributed to our success are regularly maximizing our relationships with community partners in a collaborative approach to solving workforce challenges.
3) To continue to diversify funding by expanding support from individuals, foundations and corporations to serve more people in-need and provide targeted programs and services not funded by public dollars.
The Workplace serves a 20 town region which includes 15 Fairfield County towns and towns which bridge New Haven County: Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bridgeport, Darien, Derby, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport and Wilton.
Many individuals that The WorkPlace serves are being severely impacted by the current state of the economy in the wake of The Great Recession. They also face challenges to secure employment due to business needs changing and business skill requirements increasing. The challenge is not just putting people back to work, but helping to retrain and rehabilitate the low-income and long-term unemployed.
P2E begins with a five-week preparatory program designed to address social, emotional and skill deficiencies caused by long-term unemployment. Critical skills are addressed in the preparatory program which is designed to assist in the challenges the long-term unemployed face. A support system focusing on performance improvements incorporates a curriculum of self-assessment, managing change, effective communication and successful job search strategies. Each participant moves through the various components of the preparatory program prior to becoming eligible for an eight-week paid work experience. Each component is designed to develop and ensure program participants have the skills, knowledge and ability to be successful in the work experience phase.
Measuring the economic value added of P2E will be as important as helping people who have exhausted unemployment benefits find jobs. To ensure we have developed the methods and processes required to accurately track the value of P2E we have aligned with the Harvard Business School Club of Connecticut Community Partners.A team of Harvard Business School alumni and another from the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University have examined a number of variables to evaluate the economic impact of P2E in helping the long-term unemployed return to work. Their work and documentation will be made available for future reference, program refinement and replication.The program examination will help us assess lessons learned and strategic implications of P2E while better defining how we can create a steady flow of the long term unemployed back into the workforce system.
The success of P2E has been realized in a few different ways. First, it created a forcein ourcommunity that generated support and services for the long-term unemployed. Second, we have achieved aproven recordof results. P2E has placed more than 70% of program participants into work experience programs, with nearly 90% of these individuals moving on to full-time employment. Lastly it has become a source ofhopefor the long term unemployed. They have heard loud and clear that help is on the way.Following our initial success, hundreds from across the country registered for webinars to learn more. CBS, CNN and other national media including Fox and PBS have covered P2E. Subsequently we have announced the expansion of P2E to 10 cities across the country. Each will become a Center of Hope for the long-term unemployed in their community.
Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield Countyhas three key components that helps address its short term success:Simply Suited, which offers professional attire to women searching for employment as well as newly-employed women who need to develop a professional wardrobe; the Professional Women’s Group(PWG), a monthly professional networking group and learning community; and theCTWorksCareer Centers in Bridgeport, Derby and Stamford, provide career resources to help women obtain and retain employment. The WorkPlace, the Connecticut Department of Labor, and Career Resources, Inc. are the three key partners of Dress for Success.
As public funds provided by state and federal agencies are restrictive and are not available to supportDress for Success Mid-Fairfield County, The WorkPlace must seek private support from foundations, corporations, and individuals to continue this vital program and ensure that it is self-sustaining.Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield Countyprovided more than 586 suiting’s for women this past year, with the majority of clients from the Bridgeport area. Support helps The WorkPlace serve more women in-need during these difficult economic times, providing them with unique, targeted services at no-cost. With your support, we will be able to expand programming to help women reach their full potential as they work to secure jobs, retain employment, and advance in careers.
With the growing need to serve more women and the majority of clients coming from Bridgeport, in March 2011 The WorkPlace, Inc. relocated Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield County from its former location on the Bridgeport-Fairfield line to a larger and more centrally located space at 240 Fairfield Avenue in downtown Bridgeport. The new location is closer to public transportation and just one block from theCTWorksCareer Center which offers workforce preparation, access to education and occupational skills training, and a variety of supportive services. The new location also offers additional space to accommodate the almost 15,000 donated items received this year, including professional clothing and accessories such as handbags and jewelry helping the program as it moves towards long term success.
Designed with input from healthcare providers and educators, the Health CareeRxAcademy offers a unique, forward-thinking program of training and services, including:TheAcademy enrollees receive services to develop their interpersonal and customer service skills.The Connecticut League for Nursingprovides personalized workshops for all participants, focused on communication and teamwork in a healthcare setting. Participants are assigned a health career professional as a mentor to help make career and employment decisions and to assure they understand what it takes to succeed in healthcare. TheYale New Haven Health System Institute for Excellencewill consult on talent succession planning and leadership development. Occupational training is offered for in-demand healthcare occupations. This training will lead to either a certificate or degree from an accredited provider and will allow state or national licensure. The Academy strives to provide participants with work experience in the healthcare field, through internships, job shadowing, observation or meaningful volunteer work.
The program saves employers time and cost associated with recruiting and hiring employees by:recruiting and screening candidates,selecting those with a commitment to succeeding in health care;provides candidates who have received job readiness and “soft” skills training suchas interpersonal communication and healthcare customer service;provide math and literacy instruction to enhance basic skills; assessing individual learning styles, work styles, talent, and leadershipskills in order to find the best career fit;criminal background checks for all candidates;provides support to address obstacles to training, including child care and transportation subsidies.
The Health CareeRxAcademy is monitored by ETO for the DOL H1-B grant and by Performance Reporting System (PRS) for the HSS Health Professions Opportunity Grant. The project is monitored and measured using Effort To Outcomes (ETO) software. ETO is a web-based performance management system developed by Social Solution, Inc. in 2000. ETO serves as both the case management and performance management data tracking system for programs. The ETO platform is ideal, since it is fully customizable and scalable and the data that is captured using ETO auditable and attributable. Once the data is entered it can be analyzed to assess progress and make evidence based decisions about how to adjust service to optimize performance. ETO can prove useful to: identify which of efforts, services, staff and programs are most effective at achieving desired outcomes; identify and track key trends; monitor participant attendance; manage and analyze participant demographic data; analyze assessment results; manage referrals; and maintain a comprehensive history of participant information. Secure, comprehensive, and flexible, ETO Software® is a web-based performance management solution that transforms data into knowledge that can be accessed via a multitude of easily generated reports to monitor, measure, and optimize your impact. It was designed by human service professionals who understand funding, reporting, and staffing challenges and the uniqueness of human service organizations and their programs.
Upon completion, Health CareeRxAcademy enrollees are eligible to proceed to occupational training at an accredited school or training provider. Enrollees will have access to further workshops, covering topics such as Job Search and Social Media, as well coaching and mentoring from healthcare professionals, and ongoing career development with Academy staff.
Joe Carbone has been President and Chief Executive Officer of The WorkPlace since 1996. During Joe’s tenure, The WorkPlace has evolved into a nationally recognized leader in creating innovative workforce programs. The WorkPlace’s entrepreneurial approach to workforce development has expanded the agency’s capacity to assist underserved populations, including workers with disabilities, at risk youth, veterans, and the LGBT community. Most recently, The WorkPlace launched a unique program for “99ers,” the growing ranks of unemployed persons who have exhausted their state and federal unemployment compensation benefits. Joe is a seasoned administrator with private-sector experience, having managed government relations for Textron and the Allied Signal Corporations.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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A strong economy begins with a community that supports its people. When you support workforce training, financial literacy and public transportation, you enable individuals and families to work where they live, increasing their chances of economic success.
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